Editor's note: Roz Weitzman has been working in China for seven years as an international school principal. An avid cook, Roz is in the process of epublishing a newly renamed cookbook called "Roz Weitzman's World of Chinese Comfort Food."
Since moving to Kunming she has begun to explore the cooking traditions of Yunnan. GoKunming will be posting her Yunnan-inspired recipes every other week for the remainder of 2012. More of Roz's recipes can be viewed on her blog (requires proxy) and she can be reached at roz[at]candismail[dot]com[dot]cn. Bon appétit.
Many traditional Yunnan meals feature a freshly-killed chicken often seasoned with ginger, green onion and Chinese cooking wine. The chicken is boiled or steamed in a special ceramic pot that looks like it could just as easily hold flowers. The combination of seasonings makes the chicken very flavorful and adding chili sauce makes for a wonderfully tasty dish.
This recipe does not require the ceramic pot — a regular pot, large enough to hold the whole chicken and the water required to cook it, is all that is necessary. The chili sauce included here is a fragrant combination of spicy, sweet, and salty, made even better with the addition of peanuts and two varieties of sesame seeds. The sauce is quite versatile and can be adjusted to fit your specific tastes.
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
6 tablespoons shelled peanuts with skins on
2 teaspoons chili oil
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
3/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1 whole chicken, thoroughly washed with the innards removed
10-15 cups boiling water, or enough to cover the chicken
6 green onions, whites only
1 large piece fresh ginger, smashed but whole
6 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
6 whole Sichuan peppercorns
Place white sesame seeds in a glass dish and microwave for 30 seconds on high power. Cool. Repeat separately with dark sesame seeds. Place peanuts in another glass dish and microwave for two or three minutes on high. Cool and then remove the skins. Crush the peanuts.
Mix together all sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, chili oil, light soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and Sichuan peppercorns. The sauce will be slightly thick. Add or subtract any ingredients to taste.
Next bring the water to a boil in a large soup pot. Upon boiling, add the green onion, ginger and cooking wine to the water. Return to a boil and then add the chicken. Turn the burner to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked – the meat should be uniformly heated to 74° Celsius (165° Fahrenheit). This will take approximately one hour depending on the size of the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the soup and place it into a bowl. Allow the chicken to cool completely. Tear the chicken into pieces with a fork and place into a large serving dish.
Add the sauce to the shredded chicken, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture suits your taste. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve at room temperature.
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